New York City wants to cut waste by 90 percent Recycled cans and other aluminum products are viewed at the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility on the Brooklyn waterfront in New York City. At left, a barge carries recyclable waste along the East River near Manhattan (Getty Images / Reuters)
New York City wants to cut waste by 90 percent
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The nation's biggest city, New York, is announcing the ambitious goal of reducing its waste output by 90 percent by 2030.

The plan includes an overhaul of the city's recycling program. It includes incentives to reduce waste. It also includes tacit support for the City Council's plan to dramatically reduce the use of plastic shopping bags. It was announced by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio. The announcement came on Earth Day, which was April 22.

New York has about 8.5 million residents. It would be the largest city in the Western Hemisphere to adopt such a plan. Its aim is to reduce the amount of the city's waste by more than 3 million tons from its 2005 level. That was about 3.6 million tons.

The waste reduction plan is part of an update to the project created by de Blasio's predecessor, Michael Bloomberg. De Blasio is keeping its components but rebranding it OneNYC.

The average New Yorker throws out nearly 15 pounds of waste a week. That adds up to millions of tons a year, de Blasio said in a statement to The Associated Press. "To be a truly sustainable city, we need to tackle this challenge head on."

For decades, the city's trash has been exported by rail or barge. It is sent to South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or upstate New York. The new plan would eliminate almost all of the garbage exports. They cost the city more than $350 million a year.

The amount of waste produced by the city has fallen 14 percent since 2005. That is due to an increase in recycling. A key component of the plan is to bolster that output by simplifying the process.

Currently, residential buildings have two types of recycling bins. The city's new single-stream plan would consolidate all recycling into one bin by 2020.

Organics such as food scraps and yard waste make up 31 percent of the city's residential waste stream. A program to collect that material directly from residents' homes is being expanded. The goal is to reach nearly 200,000 residents by year's end. Officials want to serve every home in the city by the end of 2018. The city also will offer economic incentives to participate. The incentives could eventually include a property tax rebate for homeowners.

The city also aims to reduce commercial waste by 90 percent by 2030. It would adopt a program similar to what is being used in residential buildings. That could also mean tax incentives for businesses that participate. Those that don't take part could be fined.

The de Blasio administration stopped short of endorsing a City Council bill. It proposes a 10-cent fee on plastic bags. Officials said that reducing their use is a priority.

The OneNYC presentation is meant to build on de Blasio's environmental record. That includes a ban on Styrofoam boxes. The goal is to reduce carbon emissions from city buildings by 80 percent by 2050.

Environmental groups applauded the plan's wide-ranging scope.

"We see cities all over the world struggling with waste," said Michael Berkowitz. He is president of 100 Resilient Cities. "A more efficient city is a more resilient city. And that means it's a stronger city."

Critical thinking challenge: New York City is the largest city in the Western Hemisphere. Why isn't it the largest city in the world?

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COMMENTS (52)
  • Nikhiln-Cla
    4/27/2015 - 04:14 p.m.

    This article is about New York trying to clean up their state by trying to reduce 90 percent of trash some getting rid of it by recycling

  • JordanK-Kut
    4/27/2015 - 04:29 p.m.

    I think it is an awesome idea to start this recycling program! Everyone always says that if we cut down landfill sizes we would have a healthier environment, cleaner land and air, and more space. If what there saying is true (I believe it is) then this gives us a great opportunity to make some changes! It won't only make the Earth healthier but it will make us healthier too!

  • AustinT-2
    4/27/2015 - 04:43 p.m.

    New York wants to outpost waste 90 percent by 2030. This idea was based of the simple idea of recycling plan. There are 8.5 millon residents in New York. Each resident throws away about 15 pounds of waste each week. Organic a make up about 31 percent of the city's residential waste stream. This would be good for the community and it would also be a message.

  • DarbyC-Kut
    4/27/2015 - 04:46 p.m.

    This is a really big step in recycling. I mean reduce waste by 90% that is a massive step of course they say by 2030 but that is only 15 years away.

  • LillyF-Kut
    4/27/2015 - 05:15 p.m.

    I think that it is a great idea to cut down on waste. The biggest city would probably have the most waste even though there is not a ton of factory's. What makes the waste rates so incredibly high is the people. The many people in that chaotic city don't always recycle because their running late, forget to, it''s stupid. Well, when all those people with all those excuses don't recycle all the products then we got a big problem because that trash ends up in the dump, not reused, and just sits their. That's waste. To make matters worse when that trash sits there the wind blows the trash into the waters and pollutes them... and don't even get me started on how the air you breath also gets polluted. So next time you're about to throw a piece of paper, food or even you're morning wake up coffee drink away think... whats this going to effect? Also, you people who say "I recycle." but, really don't, this goes especially to you, here's something to keep in mind... it takes action to make a difference because one decision, one goal, one action, becomes a million differences. So, I wrote this to make you think ahead next time... it all starts out small until the other people does their parts. Pass this on and be the change we see in the wonderful world hidden behind all of the removable stains here and there. Show the true beauty earth has to show because it's our only world, so make it great.

  • Eriku2
    4/27/2015 - 07:15 p.m.

    This article is about New York. New York wants to cut their waste by 90 percent. They want to do this by the year 2030. I think this is a good idea and will help the earth.

  • CameronS-2
    4/27/2015 - 07:22 p.m.

    This article is about New York wanting to reuse trash and cut down trash by 90% to make the state of New York nicer for visitors. New York is a big state that is known for lots of tourists. New York wanted to make it nicer for their tourist by limiting the amount of trash around the state. I think this is a great idea and I think all states should do this.

  • SofiaB-2
    4/27/2015 - 08:06 p.m.

    This article talks mainly about The de Blasio bill created on April 22, Earth Day. This bill plans to reduce New York City's waste by over 90% by 2030. Every year New Yorkers alone produce 3.6 million tons of garbage, but this bull plans to take away over 3 million tons of that. This will hopefully benefit the city and the people participating in this extravagant bill.

  • MailanN-4
    4/27/2015 - 08:28 p.m.

    I think it is really good how do New York is making a big effort to cut down their waste by 90% by the year of 2030 . it's just really amazing how people in this world still care so much about not having so much waste and having all of that pollution from the trash that we are trying to cut down. I hope that New York will achieve their goal and it will take a lot of effort and a lot of pitching in from everyone in New York but I also hope it will also spread to not only be New York but will be California and a lot more states maybe even the whole US.

  • TannerD-Kut
    4/27/2015 - 08:35 p.m.

    I think it is good that New York is cutting down on waist because that state will not be as smelly and it will help the environment we wount need more land for dumps ether. It will be great for the animals because they will not be eating as much garbage and possibly dyeing from all o the garbage thr New York is producing. I think it is bad for the environment!

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